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September 23, 2022 1:55 pm
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After Welcoming Support for Two-State Solution, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Denounces Israeli ‘Apartheid’ in UN Speech

avatar by Andrew Bernard

PA President Mahmoud Abbas at the UN General Assembly in new York. Photo: Reuters/Caitlin Ochs

Speaking to the UN General Assembly on Friday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas welcomed Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s call for a two state solution in a speech that also denounced Israel as an apartheid state disinterested in peace.

“When we hear something positive, we acknowledge it, and yesterday I listened to the US President Joe Biden and to the Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid and to other world leaders. I heard them supporting the two state solution. And we are thankful for that. This is of course a positive development.” Abbas said towards the end of his speech.

That thanks stood in contrast to the long list of accusations that Abbas leveled against Israel in the remainder of his 48 minute long remarks.

“Israel is enacting racist laws, consecrating the apartheid regime. Yes, apartheid. And if they do not like the appellation, this is the truth, they are an apartheid regime,” he said.

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Abbas warned that it was Israel, not the Palestinians, who are threatening the future of a two state solution. “This proves unequivocally that Israel does not believe in peace, it believes in imposing a status quo by force and by aggression. Therefore we do not have an Israeli partner anymore to whom we can talk. Israel is thus ending its contractual relationship with us,” he said.

Among the examples Abbas cited was supposed Israeli mistreatment of, in Abbas’s phrasing, the “hero prisoner” Nasser Abu Hmeid, who is being treated for lung cancer. “He committed a crime,” Abbas said without clarifying the nature of the crime. Abu Hmeid was convicted of murdering seven Israelis and for the attempted murder of 12 others. Abu Hmeid’s four brothers are also serving life sentences for murdering Israelis. The Abu Hmeid family receives thousands of dollars per month from the PA as compensation for the imprisonment of their relatives.

He also blamed Israel for the Palestinian Authority’s failure to hold presidential elections. “We have decided to organize the elections, but Israel did not allow us to do so,” he said. Abbas was elected to a four year term in 2005. The Palestinian Authority has not held a presidential election since then and he has remained in office.

Abbas announced that Palestine would seek membership in the World Health Organization, World Intellectual Property Organization, and International Civil Aviation Organization, but that he would not yet seek full membership in the United Nations itself. “If no practical measures are taken to end the occupation and achieve peace, we will have to resort once again to the General Assembly,” Abbas said. Under the UN charter, the Security Council, not the General Assembly, is ultimately responsible for admitting new members. The US would likely veto any such measure.

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